Wednesday, January 23, 2008

2 more dogs off the beach!

Well, yesterday was a huge day for the Los Machos Beach project on several fronts. I left my apartment in San Juan at around 8 am to go take two, long-time residents of Los Machos off the streets and into foster care at Adrienne Galler Lastra's (or Adri, as we fondly call her) home in PiƱones. The two lucky satos' names are Dakota and Bass, who both were featured in my last post. Both dogs are extremely docile animals and need to be in an environment where their love and affection will be reciprocated. And so they shall...

With collar on and all, this was a moment before Bass took his car ride to his temporary foster home (at Adri's). Finally, this big boy full of unconditional love and trust is that much closer to having a home that deserves him.

Adri's house has sort of become the ADLA shelter for us. The location and Adri herself are a blessing to our organization, and it would be an understatement to say we are all extremely grateful for her contribution to these beautiful creatures. A large number of satos stay at Adri's at any given point (last month, she housed 29 dogs and puppies!!) and are rehabilitated there until they are shipped to the U.S. Many of these fostered animals end up in St. Hubert's of New Jersey (St. Hubert's Website), a shelter that Elizabeth Kracht of ADLA began a relationship with, and since has taken in sato after sato. As of now, the plan is for Dakota and Bass to go to St. Hubert's on Feb. 8, as long as they can prove that they are adoptable, socialable and not aggressive in their new environment. Needless to say, we aren't too worried about their placement.

At Adri's, after a long car ride from Los Machos Beach, settling in beautifully. Step 1: fattening her up so she can live up to her gorgeous potential.

And as if a double rescue wasn't enough, I was greeted by Jeannette Rivera-Lyles (reporter) and Sara A. Fajardo (photographer) of the Orlando Sentinel upon arriving at Adri's with Dakota and Bass. The Orlando Sentinel is the primary newspaper in Orlando, Florida and has been in publication since 1876. Needless to say, these dogs are getting the attention they need in order to see change in their world. Jeannette and Sara asked the right questions to get the point across to their readers, my favorite question being (with respect to the cruelty and prejudice towards street animals in general in Puerto Rico), "How did we get to this point?"...At what point did people on this island decide that a street dog was equivalent to that of a diseased rodent? (my translation of the original question). In my opinion, when it is culturally acceptable to be cruel to animals, to dispose of a dog because he or she is no longer serving the purpose intended, to not spay or neuter a pet due to ignorance (i.e. believe a dog will not be as smart, physically able and/or "manly" in the case of a male dog) allowing for the number of unwanted animals to climb higher, when there is no enforcement of the laws that should protect these animals because those enforcers are of the same tainted mindset, the product = conditions like those at Los Machos or "Dead Dog Beach" in Yabucoa. And sadly it isn't in just these centralized locations.

People's minds can be changed, I'm sure of it. And this media attention Puerto Rico has received recently, especially in the instance of the Pet Massacre where an estimated 80 former pets and strays were thrown off a bridge in Barceloneta by a company called Animal Control Solutions, may be the beginning the awaited evolution of thought. I was ecstatic to talk to Jeannette and Sara yesterday and love that Dakota and Bass are going to be famous because of their visit. And, of course, I will post a link to the story/photos/video when it becomes available.

So, 2 less dogs at Los Machos...It's a great feeling.

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